Blink-182 is an American rock - pop punk band. The band formed in Poway, a suburb of San Diego, California in 1992. The trio consists of bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus, guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge, and drummer Travis Barker.
The band were initially known as Blink until Irish band Blink threatened legal action; they appended “-182” for no reason. Blink-182 was formed in Poway, California, a suburb outside of San Diego, in August 1992. After Mark Hoppus graduated high school in Ridgecrest, he relocated to San Diego to work at a record store and attend college. Tom DeLonge was kicked out of Poway High for attending a basketball game drunk and was forced to attend another local school for one semester. At Rancho Bernardo High School, he befriended Kerry Key, also interested in punk music. Key’s girlfriend, Anne Hoppus, introduced her brother Mark to DeLonge in 1992. The two clicked instantly and played for hours in DeLonge’s garage, exchanging lyrics and co-writing songs—one of which became “Carousel”. One of the pair’s early meetings was at a local skate park where Hoppus, in trying to impress his new bandmate, managed to fall from a lamppost and crack his ankles, an injury that put him in crutches for three weeks. DeLonge recruited friend Scott Raynor for drums, who he met at a Rancho Bernado Battle of the Bands competition.
The trio began to practice together in Raynor’s bedroom, spending hours together writing music, attending punk shows and movies and playing practical jokes. Hoppus and DeLonge would alternate singing vocal parts. The trio first operated under a variety of names, including Duck Tape and Figure 8, until DeLonge rechristened the band “Blink”. Hoppus’ girlfriend was angered by her boyfriend’s constant attention for the band and demanded him to make a choice between the band and her, which resulted in Hoppus leaving the band shortly after formation. Shortly thereafter, DeLonge and Raynor were preparing to record a demo tape. Hoppus promptly broke up with his girlfriend and returned to the band. Flyswatter—a combination of original songs and punk covers—was recorded in Raynor’s bedroom in May 1993. Southern California had a large punk population in the early 1990s, aided by an avid surfing, skating and snowboarding scene. “New York is gloomy, dark and cold. It makes different music. The Californian middle-class suburbs have nothing to be that bummed about,” said DeLonge.
The band could be found onstage nearly every weekend. The band saved money and began flying Raynor out to shows, but eventually Raynor moved in with Hoppus for a summer in which the band would record their first album, video and gain even more exposure.
The heart of the local independent music scene was Cargo Records, which offered to sign the band on a “trial basis”. Hoppus was the only member to sign the contract, as DeLonge was at work at the time and Raynor was still a minor. The band recorded their debut album in three days in Los Angeles, fueled by both new songs and re-recordings of songs from previous demos. Although Cheshire Cat, released in 1995, made very little impact commercially, it is cited by fans and musicians as an iconic release. The record also drew the attention of Irish band Blink. Unwilling to engage in a legal battle, the band agreed to change their name. Cargo called the band, demanding to “change the name or [we’ll] change it for you,” after which the band decided on a random number, 182.
The band borrowed a van from the band Unwritten Law for their first out-of-town show in Reno in 1995. The band soon had a manager, Rick DeVoe, who associated with larger bands such as NOFX, Pennywise and The Offspring. In addition, the band crucially drew the attention of Rick and Jean Bonde of the Tahoe booking agency, and the band signed on for their first national tour. The GoodTimes tour continued and the band was whisked away to Australia, with Pennywise paying for the band’s plane tickets. Fletcher Dragge, guitarist of Pennywise, believed in the band strongly. He demanded Kevin Lyman, founder of the Warped Tour, sign the band for the 1997 festival, telling him that “they’re gonna be gigantic.” Australia was very receptive to the band and their humorous stage shows and pranks gained them a reputation, but also made them ostracized and considered a joke. The band slowly built a young, devoted following with indie recordings and an endless series of performances and various clubs and festivals.
By March 1996, the trio began to accumulate a genuine buzz among major labels. After nonstop touring, the trio began recording their sophomore follow-up, Dude Ranch, over the period of a month in late 1996. The record hit stores the following summer and the band headed out on their first Warped Tour. When lead single “Dammit" began rotation at Los Angeles-based KROQ, other stations took notice and the single was added to rock radio playlists across the country. Raynor had been drinking heavily to offset personal issues, and he was fired by DeLonge and Hoppus in mid-1998 despite agreeing to attend rehab and quit drinking. Travis Barker, drummer for tourmate The Aquabats, filled in for Raynor, learning the 20-song setlist in 45 minutes before the first show. Barker joined the band full-time in summer 1998 and the band entered the studio later that year to begin work on their third album.
With the release of Enema of the State in June 1999, Blink-182 was catapulted to stardom and became the biggest pop punk act of the era. Three singles were released from the record—”What’s My Age Again?”, “All the Small Things”, and “Adam’s Song"—that became hit singles and MTV staples. Enema of the State was an enormous commercial success.
After multi-platinum success, arena tours and cameo appearances (American Pie), the band recorded Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001), which debuted at number 1 in the United States, Canada, and Germany. Hit singles “The Rock Show”,”Stay Together for the Kids” and “First Date" continued the band’s mainstream success worldwide, with MTV cementing their image as video stars. With time off from touring, DeLonge felt an "itch to do something where he didn’t feel locked in to what Blink was," Refraining from paying for a studio drummer, he invited Barker to record drums on the project and Hoppus felt betrayed. The event caused great division within the trio for some time and an unresolved tension at the forefront of the band’s later hiatus.
The band regrouped in 2003 to record their fifth studio album, infusing experimentalist elements into their usual pop punk sound, inspired by lifestyle changes (the band members all became fathers before the album was released) and side projects. Blink’s eponymous fifth studio album was released in the fall of 2003 through Geffen Records, which absorbed sister label MCA earlier that year. Critics generally complimented the new, more “mature” direction taken for the release and lead singles “Feeling This” and “I Miss You" charted high. The worldwide touring schedule, which saw the band travel to Japan and Australia, also found the three performing for troops stationed in the Middle East. Fans were split by the new direction, and tensions within the band—stemming from the grueling schedule and DeLonge’s desire to spend more time with his family—started to become evident.
In February 2005, Geffen issued a press statement announcing the band’s “indefinite hiatus.” The band had broken up after arguments regarding their future and recording process. DeLonge felt increasingly conflicted both about his creative freedom within the group and the toll touring was taking on his family life. He eventually expressed his desire to take a half-year respite from touring in order to spend more time with family. Hoppus and Barker were dismayed by his decision, which they felt was an overly long break. In addition, DeLonge protested the idea of Barker’s future reality television series, which was being produced for a 2005 premiere. DeLonge disliked television cameras everywhere, feeling his personal privacy was invaded. The band abruptly canceled a performance at a Music for Relief benefit show after rehearsals grew more heated. Further arguments had ensued during rehearsals, rooted in the band members’ increasing paranoia and bitterness toward one another. DeLonge considered his bandmates priorities “mad, mad different,” coming to the conclusion that the trio had simply grew apart as they aged, had families, and reached fame. The breakdown in communication led to heated exchanges, resulting in his exit from the group.
In the interim, Hoppus and Barker continued playing music together in +44. The group first began to lay down electronic demos in Barker’s basement and Hoppus’ dining room shortly after the breakup. +44’s debut, When Your Heart Stops Beating, was released the following year but stalled commercially and received mixed reviews. Barker starred in the MTV reality series Meet the Barkers with his then-wife, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler. Their later split, reconciliation and subsequent breakup made them tabloid favorites. Meanwhile, DeLonge disappeared from public eye, making no appearances, granting no interviews and remaining silent until September 2005, when he announced his new project, Angels & Airwaves, promising “the greatest rock and roll revolution for this generation.” DeLonge later revealed he was addicted to painkillers at the time, recalling “I was losing my mind, I was on thousands of painkillers, and I almost killed myself,” not realizing his statement sounded highly ambitious. The group released two albums in 2006 and 2007: We Don’t Need to Whisper and I-Empire. During the hiatus, Hoppus shifted his attention to producing albums(most notably Commit This to Memory by former tourmate Motion City Soundtrack) and hosting his podcast, HiMyNameisMark, while Barker launched a shoe line and worked on three other musical projects—the Transplants, +44, and TRV$DJAM, a collaboration with friend Adam Goldstein (DJ AM).
The band members did not speak for many years, until 2008. That August, Jerry Finn suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was taken off life support. On September 19, Barker and Goldstein were involved in a plane crash that killed four people, leaving the two the only survivors. Barker sustained second and third degree burns and developed post-traumatic stress disorder, and the accident resulted in sixteen surgeries and 4-8 hour blood transfusions. Hoppus was alerted about Barker’s accident by a phone call in the middle of the night and jumped on the next flight to the burn center. DeLonge found out via the TV news at an airport while waiting to board a flight; within minutes, he was crying in his seat. “I thought he was going to die,” says DeLonge, who quickly reached out to his former bandmate, mailing him a letter and photograph. “Instantly after the plane crash, I was like, ‘Hey, I want to play music with him again.’” The trio eventually met up in the hospital, laying the grounds for what was going to be the band’s reunion. Eventually, an arrangement was made for the trio to meet up at Hoppus and Barker’s Los Angeles studio in October 2008. The three opened up, discussing the events of the hiatus and their break-up, and DeLonge was the first to approach the subject of reuniting. ”Tom had just kind of come out to Los Angeles for the day,” recalled Hoppus, “I remember he said, ‘So, what do you guys think? Where are your heads at?’ And I said, ‘I think we should continue with what we’ve been doing for the past 17 years. I think we should get back on the road and back in the studio and do what we love doing.’”
Eventually, the band appeared for the first time on stage together in nearly five years as presenters at the February 2009 Grammy Awards. The band’s official website was updated with a statement: “To put it simply, We’re back. We mean, really back. Picking up where we left off and then some. In the studio writing and recording a new album. Preparing to tour the world yet again. Friendships reformed. 17 years deep in our legacy.” Blink-182 embarked on a reunion tour of North America from July to October 2009, supported by Weezer and Fall Out Boy. A European festival tour followed 2010- 2011, but was cancelled in order to complete the band’s promised comeback album. In the midst of the band’s reunion tour in 2009, DJ AM was found dead by a friend in his New York apartment. Though Goldstein had been prescribed medication for pain following the crash, the medical examiner reported that he died from “acute intoxication” listing several prescription drugs and cocaine. The following night’s Hartford, Connecticut show was difficult for the band; as the band played “Down” in tribute, Hoppus began crying. Subsequent dates were rescheduled over the next week in order to allow the news to sink in.
The recording process for Neighborhoods, the band’s sixth studio album, was stalled by their studio autonomy, tours, managers, and personal projects. The band members produced the record themselves following the death of Jerry Finn. DeLonge recorded at his studio in San Diego while Hoppus and Barker recorded in Los Angeles. Completion was delayed several times, which Hoppus attributed to the band learning to work by themselves without Finn, and both DeLonge and Hoppus expressed frustration during the sessions at the band’s cabal of publicists, managers and attorneys (which DeLonge described as “the absolute diarrhea of bureaucracy”). A result of the band’s split was each member hiring his own attorney, and during the sessions the band had four managers. In addition, Barker was releasing a solo record, DeLonge was involved in Angels & Airwaves, and Hoppus had to fly to New York City once a week to film his television show Hoppus on Music. DeLonge was also diagnosed with skin cancer in 2010, which was cleared. He later expressed dissatisfaction at the method of recording for Neighborhoods, conceding that it led to a “loss of unity” within the band. The album was released in 2011 and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200.
Blink-182 headlined the 10th Annual Honda Civic Tour . European tour dates rescheduled in order to complete Neighborhoods commenced in 2012. The band left Interscope Records in October 2012, becoming an independent act. The band also released Dogs Eating Dogs, an EP, in December 2012. The band regrouped in a studio the month prior to record five songs, feeling that they found a flexibility to do things their own way without label intervention.
The band toured Australia in spring 2013; Brooks Wackerman replaced Barker on drums as Barker was unwilling to fly after his near death experience in the 2008 plane crash. The band followed these dates with a small tour. The band celebrated the tenth anniversary of Blink-182 by performing it in full in 2013. After a pair of Hollywood Palladium shows sold out in a record 32 seconds, the band added three additional dates at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, which also sold out.
The band plans to enter the studio near the beginning of 2014 to record material for their seventh studio album. “We’re hoping to head into the studio next year [and to have the] album out in late spring/early summer,” Hoppus told Kerrang!. The band have discussed hiring a producer for their next effort and have had discussions with major record labels.
”What’s My Age Again?” invokes Peter Pan syndrome, a pop-psychology diagnosis of an adult who is socially immature. "All the Small Things" The music video spoofs boy bands such as the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync.
Common lyrical themes include love, family, friends, and relationships. In greater detail, this includes “adolescent aimlessness, broken hearts and general confusion over the care and feeding of girls.” Lyrics in singles such as “What’s My Age Again?” reflect age and maturity. DeLonge said in a 1999 interview that the goal is to remain sincere and relatable, noting that the band takes their lyrics very seriously. Despite this, the band gained a reputation for occasional lyrical toilet humor (Take Off Your Pants and Jacket). As the band members grew older, lyrical themes began to reflect the realities of adulthood, including relationship woes, daily pressures and unexpected hardships, most prominently explored on Blink-182 (2003). On Neighborhoods, darker lyricism continues: themes concerning depression, addiction, loss and death were inspired by Barker’s plane crash and the death of producer Jerry Finn.
The band has cited the The Cure, Bad Religion, Pennywise, The Vandals, the Ramones as influences.
The band never received particularly glowing reviews, with many reviewers dismissing them as a joke act based on the humorous slant of their music videos. British publication NME was particularly critical of the trio, begging them to “fuck right off.” Nevertheless, subsequent reviews of the band’s discography have been more positive. Andy Greenwald of Blender wrote, “the quick transformation from nudists to near geniuses is down-right astonishing.” James Montgomery of MTV called Blink-182 one of the “most influential bands of the past 20 years,” writing, “despite their maturation, Blink never took themselves particularly seriously, which was another reason they were so accessible.”
Blink-182 is the most important band of the ’90s, dick jokes and all. Apart from the sound, Blink’s ideology has been popularized […] their presence is everywhere.” “Anyone in our genre would be lying if they said they weren’t influenced by Blink-182,” said Joel Madden of Good Charlotte. The band’s influence extends beyond pop punk groups, as well: Mumford & Sons have acknowledged the band’s influence.